London's New Year's Day Parade
It’s loud and lively enough to shake off any hangover: London’s 33rd New Year’s Day Parade will feature brilliant costumes, multicoloured inflatables and marching bands – find out more below.
The parade is free to watch and starts at noon (12pm) from Piccadilly (Green Park Station). The route heads to Piccadilly Circus, before going south down Regent Street, along Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square and finally, down Whitehall to Parliament Square, which is next to the Houses of Parliament.
There are ticketed, grandstand seats in areas along the route including Whitehall and Piccadilly, so if you don’t have tickets we advise avoiding the grandstand areas. The parade will march silently past the Cenotaph on Whitehall (London’s main World War I monument), so if you wish to party, cheer and dance, we don’t recommend standing in that area either. Our top piece of advice is to arrive in the parade area as early as possible to find a good spot!
For the first time on the streets of the West End, a driverless, fully autonomous car will lead the parade. This groundbreaking vehicle has been granted special permission to drive along the parade route.
There will also be dozens of giant LNYDP balloons, created by Megaflatables. Look out for a giant bandsman, a London black taxi and a red telephone box.
While you’re out and about, don’t miss these beautiful Christmas trees around London
2019’s theme is ‘London Welcomes the World’, to celebrate the fact that people from so many different countries call the city home.
This global mix of culture will be represented by the London-based Kimbanguist Brass Band, which has its roots in the Congo, as well as students from the London School of Dhol, who use high-energy Indian drum beats. There will even be bagpipe music thanks to north-west London’s Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, from Kingsbury’s Hindu temple.
Each London borough is invited to submit entries to participate in the parade. Those boroughs voted into the top 10 by the parade’s judges (and by the public) will share a prize fund of £50,000.
Do you know what pantomime is? These shows are an essential part of a traditionally British Christmas and there are still lots showing in London: read about London pantomimes to watch here.